Two Spend 10 Hours On Capsized Boat In Albemarle Sound

Two friends say they are extremely lucky after spending almost ten hours in the Albemarle Sound after their small sailboat capsized during a storm.

Bruce Wachob and Linda Barnes left from Albemarle Beach in Washington County around 3:30 p.m., planning to sail around for about an hour in their 12-foot Sunfish. But within a half hour the two say winds picked up, changed directions and they saw a dust storm in the distance. By 4:15 p.m. they decided to sail toward Edenton, but 15 minutes later waves had capsized their boat.

At first the two didn't have life jackets, but Wachob was able to pull them from the overturned boat. The two said they hung on the side of the boat for about three hours during the storm with lightning, heavy rain and big waves hitting them. They say finally by dusk the winds had calmed down enough that they were able to climb on the bottom of the boat.

Wachob and Barnes didn't tell anyone of their outing, but fortunately a neighbor saw them leave and called authorities when the two did not return. Around 2:00 a.m. a Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Elizabeth City spotted the two and rescued them.

The two friends tell WITN News they plan to go out again on the sound in the Sunfish, but the next time will make sure someone knows of their plans as well as put cell phones in their dry bag and carry flashing strobe lights, just in case.

Previous Story

The search for two missing boaters from Washington County has ended in a rescue, according to the Coast Guard.

Coast Guard crews rescued Bruce Wachob, 49, and Linda Barnes, 63, at 1:54 a.m after their sailboat capsized. The couple was found five miles northeast of where they initially launched their 12-foot Sunfish Monday around 4 p.m.

The couple's neighbor reported the two missing around 8 p.m.

Helicopter crews lifted Barnes from the water, while a rescue boat crew helped Wachob tow the boat to shore.

Barnes was taken to Air Station Elizabeth City with no medical concerns.

Previous Story:

The NC Coast Guard is searching for a man and woman from Washington county, after they went out on a boat in the Albemarle Sound and never returned.

Officials with the North Carolina Coast Guard say that people saw Bruce Wachob, who is believed to be 49-years old, and 63-year-old Linda Barnes head out in a 12-foot Sunfish Monday afternoon near Albemarle Beach in Washington County.

The couple was last seen in the south side of the Albemarle Sound heading north toward the Edenton area.

The NC Coast Guard along with NC Wildlife are actively searching in the overnight hours by boat, and the Coast Guard plans to send out a helicopter after day breaks. Washington County and Chowan County officials are also working on the case.

The Coast Guard says they doesn't know where Wachob and Barnes were headed or what their intentions were.

The boat they are searching for has a green and white sail with a number 44 on it.

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  • by Stan Location: G'ville on Jul 26, 2011 at 07:41 PM
    Glad they are both ok, the water was warm and that the Coast Guard found them in time. If my recollection is correct you are supposed use your body weight by hanging onto and pulling the dagger board to upright a sunfish sailboat. Of course easier said than done in a storm. God was watching out for them.
  • by small town Location: enc on Jul 26, 2011 at 01:24 PM
    Not to take anything away from the U.S. Coast Guard, but how about this neighbor? There is another story on this site about a young woman who was probably murdered, dismembered, hauled halfway across the country and dumped in a creek before anyone reported her missing. This person payed attention and took what turned out to be life-saving action when things didn't seem right. Nice to see a story with a happy ending!
    • reply
      by SoManyMike on Jul 26, 2011 at 02:33 PM in reply to small town
      Agreed...especially considering how most people are now, that is very impressive.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 26, 2011 at 12:11 PM
    They need a bigger boat.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM
    I'm so glad she and her son are okay!
  • by Old Salt on Jul 26, 2011 at 11:14 AM
    These folks did two very smart things: they brought lifejackets (PFD's) and they stayed with their boat. Had they not done these two things this story might not have has as happy an ending. They did neglect at least one important thing, they didn't check the weather before heading out. When the weatherman says there's a chance for storms, you'd better be prepared for it! If the boat in the picture is the one they were on, I'm surprised they weren't able to right the boat, bail it out and sail (or paddle) home. Skills to do those things should be "basic" for any sailor.
  • by FRIEND Location: ROPER on Jul 26, 2011 at 10:20 AM
  • by Pea Ridge on Jul 26, 2011 at 08:45 AM
    I say great job to those who were involved in the rescue. I applaud all those efforts and I say thank you to the folks involved.
  • by USCG VET Location: Washington on Jul 26, 2011 at 08:12 AM
    There is no such thing as the "North Carolina Coast Guard" come on WITN, really.
  • by Grammar school Location: New Bern on Jul 26, 2011 at 07:15 AM
    WITN: Please proofread your articles before you post them. I always see simple grammar mistakes. In this articles, your journalist uses the spelling "scene" instead of "seen". That's a pretty elementary blunder!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 26, 2011 at 08:11 AM in reply to Grammar school
      Ha ha! Watch your own grammar smarty pants! (In this articles,)
      • reply
        by Andy on Jul 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM in reply to
        I agree, sure looks like the "pot calling the kettle black" to me. Maybe Grammar Schools needs to go back to school......
      • reply
        by anon on Jul 26, 2011 at 11:51 AM in reply to
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jul 26, 2011 at 12:24 PM in reply to
      • reply
        by SoManyMike on Jul 26, 2011 at 12:34 PM in reply to
        And is it really "pretty"?
    • reply
      by Proofread yourself on Jul 26, 2011 at 01:52 PM in reply to Grammar school's "this article", not "this articles".
  • by Fran on Jul 26, 2011 at 04:41 AM
    Coast Guard, thank you for all you do.
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